Medical Issues, Opsoclonus Myoclonus Syndrome

Time to Get Over Ourselves

Time to Get Over Ourselves

2 Day Hospital Stay

In this post, Time to Get Over Ourselves, H, A, and I have been at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital for two days for his infusion. This is the hospital that misdiagnosed him the second time. Now, after 2 yrs, we have found a specialist who has seen his condition.

Now, she has not seen a lot of cases, but at least some. She is willing to learn as we go, and she talks WITH me, not AT me. The last time I checked, I was H’s expert. She respects that, and I appreciate that.

Infusion Time

This is our first infusion at this hospital. It is pretty different from the last three hospitals we have had infusions in. All three other places (Norton’s, UK Children’s, and UPMC) have done one full day of IVIG. We have always had a private room and meal services. That was nice.

Here, however, is a WAY different ball of wax. We are in the cancer infusion section. It is one large room with about 12 of those hospital reclining chairs. Each person comes in and grabs a seat. There are private rooms, but that is for different cases.

As I Look Around

As I look around, I see these children that have ranged from bitty babies to 18 yrs old—everyone here for chemo. I have seen entirely bald children, some with sporadic hair pieces, some with just thinning hair or bald spots, and some that have not lost their hair.

Parents, they are tired. They are overwhelmed. These parents have bags full of everything their child/ren could need/want during their infusion. I have seen a range of emotions, from irritation to anger to frustration to intense sadness. My heart aches as I wonder which of those categories I have fallen into.

Sweet Mama Precious Baby

This one sweet mama, her daughter, looked to be about 3. When we got here, the little girl was wallering in a chair that was too big for her. Then, mama got in the chair, and this baby melted into the warmth of her arms.

She slept until she didn’t. Once the meds hit, this little girl cried, screamed, thrashed, and more. The mama tried to get the daddy to hold her, and this little peach did not have it. She was angry at her father and did not want him to touch her. This blessed little person wanted her mama, but she didn’t.

Calm in the Storm

Finally, a nurse took them to a private room, where she continued to scream for 45 minutes. My heart ached for them all. Eventually, she fell asleep, and the mom quietly retreated out of the room for some untainted air.

I approached her with kind eyes and a warm tone when she came back in. She apologized if her daughter disrupted us. That is the last thing I wanted. I gave her tips on what we do when H rages. The things that worked for us during his hospital stays. We laughed together quietly. She was able to express herself freely because I got it. I understood. We are all in this together. Honestly, this is not where anyone in this room wants to be.

Macarena

At one point, the nurses started clapping and singing the Macarena song. It was something fun they made up to sing to a patient who had completed their chemo treatments. All patients sang, clapped, and smiled at this victory. A and I fought hard not to have a complete come apart. What a beautiful moment.

Emotions of the People

I’ve seen smiles, perseverance, tears, victories, triumphs, and frustration. The nurses work hard to do their job, and they do it well. My heart aches that we are even here. Yet I know that cancer is not what is attacking H’s little body, and for that, I am thankful.

Completely overwhelmed.

Stop complaining about things that are SO minor. Honestly, the mundane crap and trials of life are just that; mundane crap. It will not matter in a week or a month. Seriously, we all need to get over ourselves. These things we get irritated over are nothing compared to what I am looking at now.

Wanna see strength?

Sit in the cancer ward of the hospital. I just saw a 6’2″ man walking with his 18 mth old balding son. This tiny fry marched confidently to the toy cabinet. Daddy opened it and crouched down as he picked something to play with while he had his treatment. I could not hold back my tears.

Time to Get Over Ourselves

Love more. Forgive more. Hold your family close; even if you don’t like them, you must LOVE them. Stop being petty and snippy. It may take a while to absorb all I’ve seen fully. There is a lot that I need to say to people who have hurt me or whom I have hurt.

Stop talking about living a simpler life, loving more, not holding grudges, etc. Do it. People can say or “post” what they do all day and twice on Sunday. That does not mean they live the life they say they live.

Stop talking. Start doing.

This.

This place is where the rubber meets the road for me. Just as I think all people need to visit a developing country to make them appreciate life more and what they have. This place is somewhere everyone needs to see to humble themselves and be grateful.

Ideas

Donate your time, money, and gently used or new toys to a children’s cancer ward. They need it, and it brings them joy for the time they are here. Thank a nurse, dr, EMT, firefighter, police officer, or military person/family.

My heart is changed.

 

Medical Issues, Opsoclonus Myoclonus Syndrome

Beads of Courage

Beads of Courage

Beads of Courage

We have been trying to get Beads of Courage since this journey began two years ago. I first learned about them from a fellow blog mom Renee’s Little Earthling Blog. Her son’s story was where I read about it.

Norton’s Children’s Hospital

We approached a nurse at the 3rd hospital, Norton’s Children’s Hospital, and she sent in the floor Child Life Worker to talk to me. This was H’s two-day IVIG/Chemo time at the hospital. We had to fill out a form to see if he qualified. There are certain conditions that a child has to have to qualify.

Cancer and Blood Disorders

Cardiac Conditions

Burn injuries

Neonatal ICU Families

Chronic Illness

Do We Qualify or Not?

 

In assuming we qualified, we had to go through a list of procedures. We had to count how many of each category H had from the past to the present—a daunting task. I sat for those two days, and I counted. I read lots of med reports and looked through my calendar to remember. H deserved every single bead because of all that he had been through with this illness.

As I painstakingly remembered and documented, I returned the document to the Child Life worker at Norton’s. We never heard another thing from them. They said he didn’t get to participate in this program at their facility because he didn’t have cancer.

Moving On

I never approached UK Children’s Hospital and UPMC about the Beads of Courage because I figured they wouldn’t let him participate either. The thought passed through my head a few times, but I let it flit on through.

Yesterday, at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, the thought came back up. I saw this honey of a boy walkthrough with a smile on his face from ear to ear. He was proud and excited. Yes, he was facing a long chemo day, which is problematic. Yet, he could take some time and string each bead on his necklace. As I saw that, I thought I would ask again.

New Day, New Hospital

Katie, our Child Life worker, came bopping over and said she was fixing to talk to us about this opportunity. I told her what had happened in the past. She just said that H qualified. Since we were never given the opportunity, things had changed slightly in 2 years.

She gave me the form (below), and I just checked everything he has done over the last two years. On the back, I wrote down the things that required great bravery: unique beads. Then, we calculated the days he had been sick. He received beads for every 100 days he was ill.

H’s Choice

H got to pick out a bag made by a woman in Arizona. He carefully chose each bead as Katie explained why he was getting it. That was not so much on his hearing level LOL. He just wanted to select the prettiest bead.

Beads aren’t the be-all and end-all, but it is something that he can know is consistent. Hospitals are not consistent. You have different nurses, different techniques, and different reasons we are there. Beads are colorful, bright, and exciting to kids. The BOC brings joy. He can sit and look at each and know that he did something amazing. He took steps to better himself and his health. He is strong.

When we all returned, I sat and looked through all the beads. I read the reasons why and then A did the same thing. She helped him sort them all out. He sat and strung each bead one by one.

Pure Joy

He was excited about the beads. I have seen some fantastic ideas on how to display them online. He earned three more yesterday, but we will get them on clinic day next month. He needs another 100-day bead, a stick bead, and a clinic visit bead. We will add it to his bag and string it when we get home.

Donate

You can always donate towards Beads of Courage anytime. The website I have highlighted above has a tab about donations of money or beads. The Predators donate money towards this program for Vandy. It gives you the chance to put a smile on a kid’s face.